Cumberland Mayor Fred Bates feels the second proposed location for a regional hospital is no better than the first.
“That’s the worst traffic centre in the Comox Valley,” said Bates, who suggests the Cumberland side of the river would be more suitable than the peninsula, from a patient’s standpoint. “I’m concerned that they’re making yet another move to pick a site. Have they in fact concluded that they can build a helicopter site there before they make these decisions?
“They seem bent on having the location near Crown Isle, regardless of appropriateness,” Bates added. “I can’t assume anything but political expedience when I don’t hear them respond to any of our (Cumberland council) questions with an answer … I’d be happy if they explained to me why I’m wrong.”
Bates and council have asked VIHA to explain the rationale used to determine the location for a new hospital.
He has also objected to replacing the original regional hospital concept with a community hospital-support model, saying taxpayers are stuck with a 40-per-cent bill increase.
“We’ve never been even acknowledged that we ask VIHA to tell us why they selected these sites,” Bates said. “The Health Ministry has never responded, neither has VIHA. I’m not happy at all.”
He said there are “some good sites” for a regional hospital north of Cumberland in Courtenay at the bottom of Mount Washington.
“This isn’t a Courtenay-Cumberland issue,” Bates said. “I have a number of questions I’d like to ask them. They said they were aware of air restrictions, but confident they could negotiate that away.
“My question is then why were they and the Health Minister willing to attempt to negotiate away a safety regulation in the name of selecting a site, which they remain unwilling to share their rationale for choosing?”